Journal of Wood Science

, Volume 63, Issue 2, pp 154–160 | Cite as

Biodegradable, flame retardant wood-plastic combination via in situ ring-opening polymerization of lactide monomers

  • Shan He
  • Yichen Guo
  • Tehila Stone
  • Noah Davis
  • Dongwhan Kim
  • Taejin Kim
  • Miriam Rafailovich
Original article


A wood-plastic combination (WPC) was created via in situ polymerization of the l-lactide monomer (3S)-cis-3,6-dimethyl-1,4-dioxane-2,5-dione. Commercial poplar boards (Liriodendron tulipifera) were impregnated with the flame retardant chemical resorcinol bis(diphenyl phosphate)(RDP). These samples were then soaked in a solution of the monomer and deionized water with sulfuric acid 5% wt/wood as a catalyst for polymerization. The wood and solution were placed in a vacuum oven for impregnation and polymerization of the monomers. The wood RDP combination was not flame retardant and had an Izod impact strength that was slightly smaller than neat wood sample. Addition of lactide monomer tripled the Izod impact strength relative to wood, and scanning electron microscope (SEM) images indicated that a polymerized coating had formed which reinforced the porous wood structure. Addition of all three components produced a synergy. The Izod impact strength of the material was nearly 14 times greater and the WPC was flame retardant surpassing the stringent UL-94-V0 requirement.


Wood Plastic Biodegradable Flame retardant 



We would like to thank the NSF-INSPIRE program (Grant #1344267). We would also like to thank the Advanced Energy Center for access to the ThINC facility.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© The Japan Wood Research Society 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Materials Science and EngineeringStony Brook UniversityStony BrookUSA
  2. 2.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringPrinceton UniversityPrincetonUSA
  3. 3.Earl L. Vandermeulen High SchoolPort JeffersonUSA
  4. 4.Smithtown High School WestSmithtownUSA

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